- The weapon use combo system determines special effects that proc based on weapon progression.
- Ancillary effects proc based on enchantment types.
- Gear enhancements (power stones) can be applied to add elemental or energy types of damage.
- A skill tree is used to grant effects: making them better or branching off into different directions.
- Passive skills will enable players to work toward mastery of a weapon.
- Weapon proficiency (based on length of use of a weapon) is not a planned feature.
- Q: Are weapons balanced towards a proficiency system (i.e. the longer I use a sword, the better my damage will be), or will it be a normal RPG stat system with no long-term scaling?
- A: We will not be using a proficiency system as described, but players will have passives available in their skill tree that will increase effectiveness of certain weapons. Becoming a master of swords will be something that is possible, just not in that particular manner. – Sarah Flanagan
Ashes of Creation is all about providing many progression paths... The reason why we don't like the term endgame is because with the amount of progression that's available with the amount of diversity and player agency that that impacts the world... We kind of want the the weapon system and add an element of that as well... You can determine special effects that proc from currently the combo system right; you can determine ancillary effects that proc based on enchantment types; you can power stone weapons to add different either elemental types of damage and/or energy that kind of play rock paper scissor with player defenses ... and then you can skill tree out how those effects that are granted ... you can make them better you can branch them off into a different direction. – Steven Sharif
A weapon use combo system (also referred to as Combo system, Combat skills, and Combat tree) is utilized instead of a traditional auto-attack ability in Ashes of Creation. No traditional auto-attack system is present in Alpha-1.
- Players can spec into weapon abilities on their combat skill tree, based on their preferred weapon classes (weapon types/weapon groups) and the grade of the weapon.
- The more skill points that are allocated to the combat skill tree, the greater a player's weapon familiarity. This in turn unlocks various proc effects on weapon use that can offer synergy with other active skills. This synergy also applies to active skills from other characters.
- Let's say a dagger has some slashing effects that bleed the target or that cripple the target... Every time you attack you have a chance to proc that effect. That effect then can synergize with what your active skills tree has available to it. So let's say your backstab deals 30 additional damage to a bleeding target. If you attack with your main weapon first and the target gets the bleed proc off and you do your backstab skill then you're synergizing your effects. – Steven Sharif
- Let's say backstab that you can apply to deals damage to the target and it'll have a conditional modifier on that damage if you're behind the target, and it'll have a conditional modifier deal additional 50 damage if the target is under a bleed effect. So you want to synergize essentially your weapon proc conditions with your active skills so that you're timing your certain active skills appropriately with the status conditions that the target has taken. – Steven Sharif
- Using a skill/ability will in general reset the combo.
- The developers are considering specific abilities might be able to be used without resetting the combo system.
- The combo system will not have the quicktime event that was seen at PAX West 2017.
It acts similar in the sense of you know the core loop of what an auto attack is so to speak; where you know typically your other skills have a cooldown period, they have a rotation or whatever: Our combo system is a repeatable you know skill effect that you can continually attack with but it's a little bit more involved than what a traditional auto attack is; and it has components from a from an advancement standpoint when it comes to the types of procs that your weapon can have during that combo system... It's not going to have the quick time event that you know you guys saw early on in PAX and gave great feedback on, but it is going to have development with regards to the power of the weapon the type of weapon you're using, the additional proc effects that you can skill into: Those types of things are going to make it a little bit more complex of a system capture. – Steven Sharif
We are very likely going to have a rune system and then we'll have the ability to sort of enchant weapons outside of that too... That's not always going to be like a vertical progression... Some of it's going to be giving up something to get something else; so maybe I do less physical damage but more magical damage, that kind of thing. – Jeffrey Bard
- Progression in various PvP systems will unlock enchantment stones that grant temporary PvP-focused benefits to gear (via a socketing system). Performance is measured over six month PvP seasons.
It's not as though you're going to necessarily acquire these once and then you're set for your PvP enchantments, but instead you'll have to continually perform month after month in order to keep having those slotted enchantments. – Steven Sharif
- Vertical enchantments are a power progression for a crafted item. More damage or mitigations, added effects or bonuses. Vertical enchantments include risks. 
When it comes to over-enchanting things, what we're going to do likely is have a safety- and this is something obviously it needs to be tested- but we're going to have a safety period of enchantment you know like in Lineage 2 I think you could enchant plus four or something. And so we're gonna have a similar system where you can enchant safely and then when you start to take risks, that percentage of potentially damaging your item either through the decay system or completely disabling it through the destruction system will be a risk that's present. – Steven Sharif
- Horizontal enchantments are more situational. For example: I'd like my sword to do force damage instead of holy damage because the monsters I tend to fight are incorporeal.
- You don't really push a particular item's level requirement or the identity of that item. You can enhance it, you can add enchantments to it, but it's still the item it is. – Steven Sharif
Power creep is a balance issue... When it comes to gear progression specifically, the idea is to create an open market that is not heavily dependent on soulbound items; and having many item sinks and gold sinks within that economy that allows for the potential degradation and loss of assets within that closed economy; and not introduce items from the market that companies put in from a pay-to-win perspective or from a pay-to-convenience perspective that undermines the economy that players have built. That is a huge mistake that companies have made in the past and that lends to the imbalancing of what designers maybe have actually balanced well. – Steven Sharif
The effectiveness of classes, skills and gear is going to depend on the adversary or the encounter. There will be optimal builds for different challenges and difficulty ratings. This design aims to avoid any obvious meta or "cookie-cutter" builds in Ashes of Creation.
- Different challenges are presented dynamically to players based on node progression and destruction. Situations that are based on a rock-paper-scissors design will inspire a horizontal gear chase. These dynamic challenges will change from month to month, causing a shift in demand in the economy as different builds are required by the new content.
- Increasing difficulty ratings inspire more of a traditional vertical power progression that is common in other MMOs.
Oftentimes you just have a very vertical power scale and that determines chase, but when you have a variety of relevance across certain types of adversaries and that variety changes over time because of player activity- and then that affects the economy and the crafter system and who was producing what for what demand- and everything gets shaken up. That's a very kind of fun uh environment to exist in it presents a more dynamic situation rather than a quote-unquote cookie-cutter type selection. – Steven Sharif
- Livestream, 30 May 2019 (58:28).
- Livestream, 30 January 2020 (1:28:40).
- Livestream, 4 May 2018 (45:37).
- Livestream, 4 June 2018 (1:11:19).
- February 8, 2019 - Questions and Answers.
- Interview, 19 July 2020 (53:59).
- Interview, 18 July 2020 (1:07:51).
- Interview, 7 February 2021 (49:18).
- Interview, 29 July 2020 (55:44).
- Livestream, 28 February 2020 (1:10:21).
- Livestream, 4 June 2018 (21:37).
- Livestream, 26 March 2021 (1:15:57).
- Interview, 18 July 2020 (14:22).
- Interview, 18 July 2020 (16:34).
- Interview, 29 July 2020 (15:04).
- Livestream, 5 May 2017 (20:41).
- Livestream, 17 May 2017 (58:55).
- Interview, 20 October 2018 (2:53:52).
- Podcast, 11 April 2021 (54:35).